“O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
You have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
Kings stand silent in your presence;
The nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.”
Do you ever feel insignificant in comparison to those whose worldly status is higher than your own? Today’s O Antiphon, which puts focus on Jesus as the flower of Jesse’s stem, should give you encouragement. Jesse was the father of King David through whose lineage God promised to send a Messiah who would reestablish the Kingdom of God in an eternal way. Notice how the antiphon says kings stand silent in His presence and nations bow before Him. If you feel intimidated by those with more prestige than you in this life, it helps to remember that we are all headed hopefully toward a life that does not run by the secular rules of prestige in this one. Outside of this life is where the Kingdom of God will reach its fulfillment for those who persevere in Christ, that flower of Jesse’s stem. The lowly in this life are the greatest in the Kingdom of God, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew. Our job in this life, regardless of status, is to worship God and use the gifts He gave us to make this world the best it can be for the human race as a whole. Today’s O Antiphon indicates whose authority – which kingdom – we should esteem the most when doing all we do in the world. Let us spend these last days of Advent being mindful of what we esteem the most as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the one before whom nations must bow.